Council kerbs residents' participation

JABA 13 reported on the dismay of residents in Grenfell and Grove Roads when Council contractors moved in to remove traditional blue Victorian kerbstones, replacing them with concrete ones without so much as a warning. We also covered the story here on our Points of View page. A difference has now emerged between Graham Dunhill, Herefordshire Council's Environment Director, and local ward councillor David Fleet.  Mr Dunhill suggests that Cllr. Fleet did know about the kerb replacement but did not communicate this information to local residents. When asked by a local resident, Cllr. Fleet denied this, subsequently saying it took him two weeks for the Highways Department to respond to his request for information.

An email from Mr. Dunhill states: "[the Council's] ongoing maintenance works programmes are now shared with [Councillors] by Area Managers on an annual basis and it is through our [Councillors] that any issues of concern would normally emerge... the [councillor] should be aware and [liaise]... with residents at the time the works are undertaken ... I see no reason for Local Members not to involve the local community."

The issue was initially raised at a recent meeting of the Community Travel Plan, at which Cllr. Fleet said that he had no knowledge that the work was to take place. JABA contacted Cllr. Fleet, who responded: "Resurfacing of the pavements in the St James are has been on the agenda for some considerable time, However it was only when contacted by local resident Tim Ford that I became aware that the kerbs were being replaced by the new concrete kerbs. By the time full information became available more than half of the kerbs had been removed. It is regrettable that residents and Local Councillors were not informed of the full implications of the refurbishments well before the start of the works, when there was still an opportunity for a local imput.".

Whoever is at fault, it remains the case that a major change to the look of the street went ahead without any consultation with residents.

Posted: Sat - December 10, 2005 at 03:41 PM